Tegan Jovanka

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Tegan Jovanka
Doctor Who character
Tegan Jovanka.jpg
Janet Fielding as Tegan in a publicity shot from the serial Resurrection of the Daleks
First appearanceLogopolis (1981)
Last appearanceResurrection of the Daleks (1984)
The Caves of Androzani (1984) (cameo)
Portrayed byJanet Fielding
Sian Pattenden (young; uncredited)[1]
Non-canonical appearancesA Fix with Sontarans (1985)
In-universe information
AffiliationFourth Doctor
Fifth Doctor
RelativesAndrew Verney (grandfather)
Vanessa (aunt)
Colin Frazer (cousin)
Home era1981

Tegan Jovanka is a fictional character played by Janet Fielding in the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. An Australian airline stewardess and a native of Brisbane who was a companion of the Fourth and Fifth Doctors, she was a regular in the programme from 1981 to 1984. Tegan appeared in 19 stories (64 episodes).

According to producer John Nathan-Turner, when he was thinking of a name for the character, it was either going to be Tegan, after his partner's niece in Australia, or Jovanka, after Jovanka Broz, the widow of Yugoslavian President Josip Broz Tito, so he wrote both down on a piece of paper. Script editor Christopher H. Bidmead mistakenly believed that Jovanka was the character's last name rather than an alternative, and so christened her Tegan Jovanka.

Character history[edit]

Tegan first appears in the Fourth Doctor's last serial, Logopolis.[2] En route to Heathrow Airport to start her new job as a stewardess with Air Australia, her aunt Vanessa's vehicle (in which she is riding) suffers a flat tyre. Tegan enters a roadside police box to seek help, not knowing that it is actually the Doctor's disguised TARDIS. She is present when the Fourth Doctor falls from the Pharos Project radio telescope and regenerates into his fifth incarnation, and continues to journey with the Doctor and his other companions. She travels with the Doctor initially because her aunt was killed by the Master, although she still wants to get to Heathrow Airport to start her new job, as soon as the Doctor can get her there.

Tegan is stubborn, loud, and direct, with a no-nonsense manner and not afraid to speak her mind (in Earthshock she describes herself as "just a mouth on legs").[3] Her time in the TARDIS coincides with that of Adric, Nyssa, Turlough and Kamelion. While she often bickers with them (particularly with Adric) as well as with the Doctor, her strength of character keeps them together and her loyalty and affection to her crewmates is unquestionable. She is close to Nyssa, and is especially saddened at her leaving. She is initially very suspicious of Turlough, frequently referring to him as a "brat" at first, though they gradually become friends. The Doctor notes that she is a good coordinator, and often encourages her with the words, "Brave heart, Tegan." She is apparently able to speak at least one Indigenous Australian language fluently, and shows an ability to use firearms.

Despite her strong front, however, her adventures with the Doctor, both thrilling and terrifying, eventually take a psychological toll. She is deeply upset by the death of Adric in Earthshock. After being left behind in Heathrow due to a misunderstanding at the end of Time-Flight, she returns to the TARDIS in the next adventure Arc of Infinity, which is set about a year later in Earth time (Although the Doctor and Nyssa have been depicted having several adventures in that time frame in the audio adventures). During that period, Tegan had worked as a stewardess, but had been subsequently fired. Soon after, she is once again possessed by the alien intelligence known as the Mara. Eventually, the carnage surrounding the events of Resurrection of the Daleks proves too much and she bids an emotional good-bye to both the Doctor and Turlough in 1984 London.

Tegan Jovanka is one of the few companions of the classic series to be seen to have an extended family. She had an Australian aunt in the UK named Vanessa (Dolore Whiteman). In Logopolis it is said that Tegan's father owned an Australian farm. Tegan's English maternal grandfather Andrew Verney (Frederick Hall) was a local historian who had a cottage in the English village of Little Hodcombe in The Awakening, and her cousin Colin Frazer (Alastair Cumming) lived in Brisbane but was terrorised by Omega whilst back-packing in Amsterdam during Arc of Infinity.

Tegan is set to appear in the series' 2022 specials celebrating the BBC Centenary, alongside the returning former companion Ace.[4]

Other mentions[edit]

An illusory image of Tegan is seen during the Fifth Doctor's regeneration into the Sixth in The Caves of Androzani (1984).

In The Twin Dilemma and Attack of the Cybermen (1985), The Sixth Doctor calls his companion Peri 'Tegan', which leads into Peri telling the Doctor that he has called her 'Tegan' amongst many other names.

In the 2007 Children in Need special episode "Time Crash", the Tenth Doctor asks his fifth incarnation if he is still travelling with Tegan in his own relative timeline.

In The Sarah Jane Adventures two-parter Death of the Doctor (2010), Tegan is mentioned as having campaigned for the rights of Indigenous Australians.

In "The Crimson Horror" (2013), the Eleventh Doctor tells Clara Oswald that he spent a long time trying to get a "gobby Australian" to Heathrow Airport. A scream is then heard, and he says "Brave heart, Clara."[5]

A 2020 short published to the official Doctor Who YouTube channel and titled Farewell, Sarah Jane, written by former Doctor Who showrunner Russell T. Davies, revealed that Tegan was in a relationship with fellow traveler Nyssa.[6]

Other appearances[edit]

Fielding reprised the role in a 1985 sketch ("A Fix with Sontarans") for the children's show Jim'll Fix It alongside Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor. This sketch suggests Tegan returns to the life of a flight attendant and has also frosted her hair blonde, before being accidentally returned to the TARDIS by the Sixth Doctor.

Tegan's life after journeying with the Doctor is investigated in the Big Finish Productions 2006 audio drama The Gathering. Although she finds it difficult to enter into relationships and is suffering from a terminal illness, she tells the Doctor that she has no regrets about her time with him, and now appreciates her life to the full.[7]

The spin-off fiction suggests that she was briefly married to pop star Johnny Chester (also known as Johnny Chess), the son of the First Doctor's companions Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright. In the spin-off short story "Good Companions" by Peter Anghelides Tegan has suffered a nervous breakdown and convinced herself that her time with the Doctor was a delusion.

In the promotional video for the season 19 Blu-ray box set, Fielding reprised her role as Tegan, this time appearing as the owner and Chief Executive Officer of Jovanka Airlines, parodying flight take off instructions for passengers once they have boarded, with Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton playing the passengers.

List of appearances[edit]


Season 18
Season 19
Season 20
20th anniversary special
Season 21
2022 Specials
  • TBC

Audio dramas[edit]

Doctor Who: The Monthly Adventures
Doctor Who: The Lost Stories
Doctor Who: The Fifth Doctor Adventures
  • The Fifth Doctor Box Set
  • The Lost Resort and Other Stories
    • The Lost Resort
    • The Perils of Nellie Bly
    • Nightmare of the Daleks
  • Forty: Volume One
    • Secrets of Telos
    • God of War
Doctor Who: Novel Adaptations
Doctor Who: Special Releases
Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles
Doctor Who: Short Trips
  • The Lions of Trafalgar
  • The King of the Dead
  • Gardens of the Dead
  • The Monkey House
  • The Mistpuddle Murders


Virgin Missing Adventures
Past Doctor Adventures

Short stories[edit]



  1. ^ Jean- Marc Lofficer 'Doctor Who Programme Guide' New Edition. Virgin Publishing 1994 ISBN 0-426-20342-9
  2. ^ "BBC - Doctor Who Classic Episode Guide - Season 18".
  3. ^ "BBC One - Doctor Who".
  4. ^ Collis, Clark (17 April 2022). "The trailer for Jodie Whittaker's final episode of 'Doctor Who' reveals returning cast members". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 17 April 2022.
  5. ^ "Doctor Who: The Crimson Horror… Preview Clip 1, The Crimson Horror, Series 7 Part 2, Doctor Who – BBC One". www.bbc.co.uk.
  6. ^ "Farewell, Sarah Jane". YouTube. 19 April 2020. Archived from the original on 12 December 2021.
  7. ^ "BBC Doctor Who website". Archived from the original on 15 September 2006.

External links[edit]